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Secondhand Smoke Ups Child Meningococcal Disease Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) correlates with an increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease in children, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in BMC Public Health.

Rachael L. Murray, from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of four databases and a meta-analysis of 18 studies to examine the effects of SHS on the risk of invasive meningococcal disease in children.

The researchers found that the risk of invasive meningococcal disease more than doubled with SHS in the home (odds ratio [OR], 2.18), with some evidence of an exposure-response effect. In children younger than 5 years, the effect was strongest (OR, 2.48). Maternal smoking during pregnancy and after birth correlated with a significantly increased risk of disease (OR, 2.93 and 2.26, respectively).

"Our results demonstrate a further means by which passive smoking presents a significant risk to the health and well-being of young children," the authors write. "Interventions to prevent SHS exposure to cigarette smoke from parents and other household members therefore remain an urgent priority."

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